Oxfam urges preparedness, raises funds for stepped-up response to South Asia floods

Published: 8 August 2007

New Delhi – International humanitarian agency Oxfam today urged the governments of India, Bangladesh and Nepal to step up preparedness measures for the annual floods in the Ganga-Brahmaputra river basin, even as it issued appeals in the UK and Spain to raise funds for its own response to the flood-affected people in the region.

Oxfam will be responding to up to half a million people in the three countries. Altogether 20 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have been affected by flooding in the current monsoon, forcing many from their homes.
"The magnitude of these floods shows how important it is for governments and the international community to be prepared for when disasters strike,” said Ashvin Dayal, head of Oxfam in South Asia. “Thanks to good preparation we have responded quickly and saved lives but people desperately need our help to get back on their feet again.”
Oxfam’s US$2 million (£1 million) appeal for its work will be spent on delivering food, emergency shelter, hygiene items and clean water and safe sanitation in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Last week, Oxfam and its partners in Bihar, northern India, managed to rescue stranded villagers, using 20 small boats they had ready as part of their disaster contingency plan for the flood-prone area. They have also started providing essential non-food items and temporary shelter for displaced persons from their emergency stocks.
“Across the region people are struggling to cope with what is for many the worst flooding in living memory. Millions of the very poorest have lost their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods. In the long term, we will work more closely with local authorities to help vulnerable people in the flood-prone areas of India, Bangladesh and Nepal to cope with increasingly erratic and unpredictable weather,” added Mr Dayal.
Oxfam has been working on village-level flood preparedness, with local communities and local authorities, in all the three countries. In Nepal, for instance, preparedness has meant that people’s raised homesteads have not been flooded and their raised drinking water sources like tube-wells are still safe. This is true for many prepared villagers in Bangladesh and India too.
As of 8 August, these Oxfam affiliates are running donation appeals for the recent South Asia floods:
Over 4.5 million people have been made homeless by floods in the past month in Orissa.


Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Aditi Kapoor (in India) on +91 9810306200, or akapoor@oxfam.org.uk
Farid Hasan Ahmed (in Bangladesh) on +88 01 711525207, or fahmed@oxfam.org.uk
Kakani Dharmaraju (in Nepal) on +977 9851026079, or kdharmaraju@oxfam.org.uk